If there’s any silver lining to COVID-19, it’s that a time of crisis can be a time of learning, too.
As the pandemic spread, there was an urgent need to transition to remote work, which left many companies scrambling to define new policies and communicate changes to employees. But for Penn Community Bank, the infrastructure was already in place for sharing vital information with its team and holding employees accountable for reviewing it.
A Cornerstone client since 2017, the bank leveraged the technology not only to share the organization’s remote policy and subsequent updates to it, but also to ensure that employees viewed and understood the materials by requiring their sign-off. What’s more, the LMS became a comforting resource for learning and engagement during a time of massive disruption.
Using Downtime for Learning
With most of Penn Community Bank’s workforce working from home for the foreseeable future, the bank wanted to ensure that employees felt supported and empowered to work remotely. After all, remote work isn’t just a technological shift—beyond the need to master Zoom or other communication channels, there’s a need for soft skills like adaptability and resilience.
To that end, the bank leaned on Cornerstone Cares, a centralized compilation of learning materials from providers such as Grovo, Whil and ej4, curated by Cornerstone, to help employees navigate the COVID-19 disruption. With courses like "Tips for Productive Remote Work," and "Build Work Relationships Remotely," Penn Community Bank provided its workers with valuable advice on how to stay engaged—even from a distance. Already, 70% of team members have completed these optional courses.
"Our team members loved the content. They were three to four minutes long and right to the point," says Lianne Richards, senior training specialist, LMS Administrator, at Penn Community Bank.
And employees have been proactive about sharpening other skills, from public speaking to Microsoft office proficiency, during their time at home, too—there has been a 100% increase in registration and completion of courses available in the CyberU learning marketplace via the Cornerstone LMS.
Penn Community Bank also wanted to give its employees the opportunity to get ahead on required compliance training if they were able to. The bank typically requires compliance training to be completed via the Cornerstone LMS twice a year, in January and July, but decided to roll out the July training early. "We still have the due date set for the end of October, but we definitely gave folks some wiggle room," Richards says.
Recognizing Top Performers
Under normal circumstances, Cornerstone Performance provides a place for Penn Community Bank’s team members and managers to communicate regularly about performance goals, provide timely feedback and revise goals mid-year as priorities and projects shift. But the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic required the bank to adapt its normal business processes and routines, including the ways in which it manages performance.
For example, the bank has updated its normally scheduled mid-year goal review task to include additional areas for evaluation and input, enabling managers to recognize team members for their adaptability and extraordinary efforts during the pandemic.
"We expect this will be a great tool to encourage meaningful conversations and provide a basis for rewarding those team members who have gone above and beyond," says Kirsten Palmieri, HR business partner and VP at Penn Community Bank. "During times like this, we’re especially thankful for the ability that this platform gives us to create and customize performance tasks to meet our needs in the moment."
Preparing for a Post-COVID World
Though the future of work is still in flux as the pandemic continues, Penn Community Bank is planning to pick back up various initiatives when employees do eventually return. Before the shutdown, the bank was experiencing success with its shadow program and is eager to reinstate it when team members return. As part of the program, employees interested in learning about departments other than the one they work in shadow other teams, from accounting to loan operations and others.
As workforces aim to become more flexible than ever in the face of COVID-19, the program is giving its employees an opportunity to "new skill" and not only experience personal growth but also add more value to the business as potential candidates for open positions in the future. "We've had an incredible result. As soon as we sent the email that shadow positions were available through Cornerstone, they filled up immediately through the end of the year," Richards says.
Similarly, the company introduced a series of learning activities built around its core principles. "We had activities that the team members can do together in a team meeting. Just five-, 10-, or 15-minute activities for engagement. We created a library and shared it through Cornerstone," Richards explained.
From introducing gamification techniques like badging to reward employees for engaging with learning materials to debuting the Check-ins feature and thinking about the best ways to apply Cornerstone’s succession planning tools, Penn Community Bank is always looking for new ways to support and empower its employees. When the crisis ends and workers can finally return, "we have some very exciting things to look forward to," Richards said.